Government looks to regulate telecoms rates with new Bill

21 Apr 2009

The government of the Philippines hopes a new telecoms law, House Bill 5882, will give it greater powers to fix rates and tariffs in the country, once it is passed by the House of Representatives. Its author, House Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr, says the bill is designed to stimulate fair competition in the telecoms market – something which he claims is lacking at the moment. ‘Notwithstanding the so-called free competition, it cannot be determined whether prices are close to costs, whether consumers are being supplied with the best products in terms of pricing, or whether the telecommunication companies are getting fair and reasonable rates,’ Barzaga is quoted as saying by local news portal GMANews. ‘Unfortunately, the deregulation has not achieved its purpose because the rates of telecommunications companies are practically the same,’ he added. The politician’s new bill is designed to amend Sec. 17 of RA 7925 entitled ‘An Act to Promote and Govern the Development of Philippine Telecommunications.’